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Author Topic: RVing in Europe  (Read 9602 times)


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RVing in Europe
« on: July 11, 2011, 03:33:31 AM »
Hi everybody. I'm new in this forum.

We are a retired Australian couple seeking to travel for 6 to 9 months in Europe with an RV. We have rented three times RVs for 2 or 3 weeks each time some years ago and have lived onboard a catamaran for 3 years sailing the Caribbean and crossing the Pacific from the US to Australia. Thus, although we have not a large experience with RVs the nomad life is not strange to us. Anyway I'm sure I'll need to post a lot of questions here.

My first ones relate to basic economics. What will be better for us, rent or buy a second hand RV in Europe? Does anybody know a company that offers good long term rental deals? Is easy to buy and sell RVs in Europe?

Here in Australia Winnebago has a buy back guarantee program for second hand RVs that depending of the model you lose between 10% and 20% of the money in one year but apparently only a handful of people exercise that option because most of them sell the RV at a better price. The market here is pretty good. How is the market in Europe? Are dealers offering a similar buyback guarantee there?

How difficult will be for us to get insurance if we buy a RV in Europe?   

Thanks in advance for your help. Please feel free to do any suggestion.     


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Re: RVing in Europe
« Reply #1 on: July 11, 2011, 05:58:33 AM »
Hopefully one of our European members will jump in with some replies. Meanwhile, try contacting Sureterm Direct, UK-based insurance agency, to ask about a quote and coverage:  http://www.sureterm.com/
Tom.  Need help? Click the Help button in the toolbar above.


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  • Vall and Mo, a married couple getting ready for FT
Re: RVing in Europe
« Reply #2 on: July 11, 2011, 07:18:28 AM »
Hello oer01RV,

Me and Mo have toured Germany's south (Bayern) on a rented motorhome for 19 days last february. It was a wonderful experience. Sorry we don't know anything about buying/reselling a motorhome in Europe, or insurance (our insurance came included in the rental), but maybe we can give you some pointers regarding rental.

- Our trip was to be exclusively in Germany since we started planning, but we found many references that Germany is actually the one of less expensive place in Europe to rent motorhomes, to the point that folks going to nearby countries fly to Germany first to pick a motorhome there.

- We arrived and departed Europe from Frankfurt's main airport (FRA);

- We received a recommendation from a fellow brazilian couple for  Ideamerge's website ( http://www.ideamerge.com/germany_rv_motorhome_rental_camper_van_hire.html ); they are a kind of "aggregation" website which coordinate rentals with quite a few "brick and mortar" RV rental companies; after quickly checking their website, we also checked the individual companies, and it wasn't more expensive to rent from Ideamerge when compared to renting directly from the companies, so we proceeded with Ideamerge.

- We were travelling in the winter; we didn't know, but we learned that this is exactly the time (due to low demand) that the companies use to replace their old models for newer ones, and so RV availability is quite restricted. But after a few emails, the folks at IdeaMerge managed to secure us a motorhome that would exactly fill our needs, and at a good price (we rented a compact Dethleffs A 5831 motorhome for EUR 1312.00 total for 19 days, including insurance and also shuttle service to/from Frankfurt airport). The motorhome was rented though one of their "affiliated" companies called McRent: they have a fantastic staff, the lady who received us when we arrived was really helpful. I must say I have no affiliation with Ideamerge or McRent apart from being a satisfied customer.

- We don't know anything about the rest of Europe (we went just briefly into Austria border over the Alps, and visited no other coutries), but South Germany is a wonderful place: beautiful nature, great history (castles and museums specially), and all the people were very kind and helpful (with just a single exception, an unfriendly bus driver in Stuttgart).

- We planned to sleep all nights at campgrounds, but ended up doing a lot of boondocking: we slept 3 or 4 nights "in the wild" (just went out of secondary roads and into unpaved ones for a few hundred meters, and camped under the trees, or at dark-sky astronomic observation spots that were previously recommended to us -- Vall likes to look at the sky through his telescope and even lugged it along for the journey).

- The best overnight camping spots were the "Rasthaus": they are large parking lots right beside the big fuel stations  on the main roads ("autobahns", the ones labeled with "A" and a number, like "A8", "A9", etc). There are quite a few amenities at these places (restaurant, convenience store and toilets at the station), and we felt very secure there as they were well lighted and there were many other travellers (in cars, trucks and also some few motorhomes like ours) passing the night there too. The cost was the best part of it: exactly zero, although we of course dined (or had breakfast the next morning) at the restaurant and also refueled there as a "thank you" gesture. This free overnighting contributed to reduce our traveling expenses a great deal, although campgrounds (at least during winter) weren't really expensive: EUR 15 to 25 per night, sometimes including electric, sometimes not (our motorhome heater ran exclusively on propane, so the electric bill was negligible).

- If you go to South Germany on your trip, don't forget to visit Zugspitz in the Alps: it's their highest mountain peak (they call it "Top of Germany"), and it has a very comfortable ski station: me and Mo don't know how to ski, and we passed just an afternoon there (we tried renting a sled but it was too late, unfortunately) but the views were breathtaking and it was well worth the (somewhat expensive)  cablecar fare.  Another place we highly recommend is Garmisch-Partenkirchen: they have a hike through a narrow river gorge (Partnach) where the water naturally freezes and forms out-of-this-world, beautiful ice sculptures. We have lots more destinations we liked but as they are not your main focus we will refrain from posting them now; please feel free to inquire us about them later.

Cheers, and best of luck on your travels,
   Vall & Mo.
Edit: Fixed link.
« Last Edit: July 11, 2011, 09:59:49 AM by Tom »


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Re: RVing in Europe
« Reply #3 on: July 12, 2011, 03:43:12 AM »
Hopefully one of our European members will jump in with some replies. Meanwhile, try contacting Sureterm Direct, UK-based insurance agency, to ask about a quote and coverage:  http://www.sureterm.com/

Thanks Tom. Will check Sureterm. Insurance may be one of the big problems if we decide to buy something. Rental for 6 to 9 months will be a fortune for what I was already seeing.


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Re: RVing in Europe
« Reply #4 on: July 12, 2011, 03:52:03 AM »
Thanks Vall and Mo. Will contact that company that organized the rental for you. Definitely for what I saw in the Internet you right, Germany appears to be the cheapest place to rent but stil 6 to 9 months rental will be a little fortune. Also I notice that the German rental companies say "To travel in Germany, Belgium, France, Holland, Austria and Switzerland. Aparently Italy and Spain are excluded. Maybe need to pay more insurance. I need to find out. Thanks again. Oscar

Jan & Yvonne

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    • Travel Adventure
Re: RVing in Europe
« Reply #5 on: August 12, 2011, 12:38:46 PM »

To get license plates on an RV, in the case you buy one, you need a permanent address and be an officially registered citizen. At least that is the case (to my knowledge) in Holland and Belgium. That's why buying an RV can by a bit tricky here. Apart from having a valid driver license (car, max vehicle weight 3500 kg) should be possible.
The RV's (campers) in Europe are generally much smaller that their US counter parts. For the "US-size" RVs you need a truck driver license.
There are plenty of rental companies throughout Europe and it is probably worth the effort to look around and compare the possibilities in different countries.
Personally I do not have experience with longterm rentals in Europe. Most people rent a camper for 2-3 weeks.
a link to a Dutch camper web-site to rentals (http://www.camperleven.nl/resultaat_verhuur.php), most of all companies, but also individual (particulieren) do rent-out their RV, maybe that can be an option. An other site (also in Dutch): http://www.campersite.be/huur/verhuur.php.
The German RV for sales market seems to be the biggest one, have a look at: http://suchen.mobile.de/fahrzeuge/search.html?scopeId=MH&lang=en

Kind regards,



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Re: RVing in Europe
« Reply #6 on: August 25, 2011, 11:09:58 AM »
Hi Oscar,

I am pretty new to this forum but I think I can give you some help here since I lived in Switzerland for 40 years prior to coming to the US about 15 years ago. I owned several RV's in Switzerland and traveled all over Europe. I was recently planning an RV-trip for a friend of mine and came across this website http://www.erento.net/rent/vehicles-boats-aircraft/rv-trailer/rv/switzerland/ that seems to offer RV's all over Europe.

Unless you have somebody with a permanent address who would be willing to let you use his name and address to buy an RV I think it's still pretty hard to get around the local laws about tag, insurance etc.

Please let me know if you need any specific help and I will try my best to find an answer for you.


Elly Dalmaijer

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Re: RVing in Europe
« Reply #7 on: September 02, 2011, 08:21:17 PM »
I agree with Jan and with Carrera. The roads in Europe are so full that often ownership of a vehicle is restricted to people with residency status. We tried to purchase a car in Holland to keep there but it was not possible. We tried to use the address of my brother but had no proof of residency (you get that at City Hall and comes with lots of implications) so that did not work.
They are big on documents and paperwork and it may be hard to get around it.

OTOH Peugeot (and Renault I think) have for their cars a lease/buy program that is also described on Ideamerge. This is specifically for long term rental/leases and operates in France only as far as I know. Peugeot makes also motorhomes. I wonder if they offer this lease/buy program for RVs?

We have three times rented campers in Europe, and our best experience was with Ideamerge.com. If you send me a personal message then I can provide you with the email address of the President of Ideamerge and possibly you can work out a special long-term rental with him.

We have camped in 14 countries in Europe in the past 20 years and each country comes with new surprises. Washroom facilities in Europe tend to be much more developed in that they always have a row of special sinks for washing dishes. This past summer we camped three weeks in Belgium, France and Spain. France is by far the easiest country to damp in because  many small villages have a "Camping Municipal", often next to the outdoor pool. They are not Fancy but they are plentiful and inexpensive. However you rarely camp "in nature" in Europe but more "along streets" and you don't get a picnic table or firepit. It is not better or worse, just different. And, as you know, THAT is the adventure!

Either at home in St Albert AB or working in Africa or in our 1993 Itasca Sunrise.


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Re: RVing in Europe
« Reply #8 on: February 24, 2012, 09:33:35 AM »
Hi to everyone!
If You want to have a no problem trip You should consider to buy a car in Poland or in Germany. Why this two countries?
In Poland You have 30 days to change the register the car and the insurance on the car not for a owner. For example if You have a car and Your Wife wants to drive it She don`t have to buy another insurance and not many peoples cares about this 30 days, some of cars are used ad old plates to the end of the insurance.
You have to talk with a owner and ask him to report a sealing a car. You can write a agreement to You US address with no problem.
In Germany You can get a temporary plates for about month in their motor office for 50 Euro, but remember to get a plates with a RED strip because this with a yellow are not valid outside the Germany, for example when You cross the Polish bolder first Police patrol will stop You take the plates out of Your car and get it on parking until You will not arrange shipping the car to the destination point.
Also Slovakia gives the temporary plates for about one month even You are not living in this country, they just put Your home address at the documents and give You the plates which are Yellow and valid for about a month as I good remember.